Point-Of-Care Ultrasound for Lung Assessment in Patients With Severe Scoliosis and Chest Deformities: An Emergency Department Case Series



      Diagnosing pneumonia and other lung conditions can be challenging in patients with severe intellectual or physical disabilities or severe chest deformities. Physical examination is sometimes difficult to perform and the frequently requested chest x-ray (CXR) study is often of little value in the diagnostic approach to this population. Point-of-care lung ultrasound (US) is an emerging diagnostic tool with particularly high level of accuracy in detecting pneumonia, pleural effusion, and pneumothorax.

      Case Report

      This case series describes four cases demonstrating the usefulness of point-of-care US in a pediatric emergency department for lung assessment in patients for differentiation and diagnosis of acute causes of acute respiratory symptoms, in whom clinical features or CXR failed to confirm or exclude pulmonary complications.

      Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?

      In patients with chest deformities, pulmonary complications can be disproportionately frequent. Lung US should be recognized as an important adjunctive tool in this subset of patients to detect pneumonia, pleural effusions, and pneumothorax. When used proactively, it can reduce unnecessary radiation exposure, provide more certainty in determining the diagnosis, and, most importantly, inform correct and timely management.


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